Sunday, October 31, 2010

Egg with Zucchini-Potato Cake

This quick breakfast looks fancy but was really easy to make. All you need is a ring mold and a box grater. I used some of the tomato sauce I made for the clams the other day for a garnish and because ketchup wasn't sexy enough for this presentation.

Zucchini Potato Cake

2 oz vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
salt and pepper

Using a box grater, grate the zucchini and the potato. Use a salad spinner or lay the grated potato and zucchini on some paper towel to absorb the natural moisture. Once dried a bit mix the two together well. Start a large sautee pan on medium and add the oil. Add the zucchini and potato mixture and stir it up. Once cooked through a bit, form it into a single piece, like a hash brown, and let it get golden on one side. Flip it and let it get golden. Thats it.

I toasted a piece of rye bread and then buttered it. I used a ring mold to cut the bread into a perfect circle, this will be the base. I then used the same ring mold to cut a circle out of the potato and zucchini cake and placed that on the bread. Finally, I cooked an egg sunny side up and used the ring mold to cut a perfect circle from that as well. I warmed the tomato sauce and put two swipes on the plate. Add a bit of basil for garnish and you have a great looking breakfast in the same time as it takes to make a sloppy looking breakfast. Enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu in Mushroom Cream Sauce with Wilted Spinach

This was the first complex recipe dish I had ever made. It was all grilled cheese and bologna sandwiches before this. The reason for cooking was my first real "date" and I wanted to impress, I think I was about 16. It was a challenge for my first culinary endeavorer but I got it done with some short cuts and both the food and date worked out well. Looking back, that was an amazing day. This is my current version. Since I haven't made it in a few years I added some new techniques. This feeds 4, takes about 2 hours to make and costs about $25. The recipe normally has rosemary but I didn't have any so I substituted with thyme and marjoram.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 oz Vegetable Oil
4 Chicken Breasts, sliced into two thin pieces, lightly pounded
8 slices of good deli ham (I used Board's Head Maple Glazed)
8 slices aged swiss
2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped fine
16 toothpicks
1 cup of all purpose flour
salt and pepper

Cut the "tenderloin" off of the chicken so you have a nice even whole breast. Now cut the breast into two by laying you knife on the cutting board and running it back and forth evenly and slowly creating two thin chicken cutlets. OR you can by thin cut chicken breast and make it easier. Lightly pound out the chicken between two sheet of plastic wrap, make sure you don't pound it to thin, there should be no holes.

Mix the mustard, honey and herbs in a small dish. Coat one side of the breast with mustard mix and place one piece of ham and one piece of cheese toward the thinner end. Starting at the thinner edge, roll the chicken up and secure the roll by sticking in the toothpicks. Pull the roll tight before inserting the toothpicks. Season the rolled chicken with salt and pepper then coat with flour.

Start a deep large frying pan or large pot on medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the chicken in batches, turn a few times to get a golden crust on each side. This take about 2 to 3 minutes per side. We do not have the cook the chicken all the was through at this point. Just get the good color and set them aside on a plate, we will cook them thorough later.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 package of button or crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper

In the same pot that you cooked the chicken, add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and let cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Now add the butter and mix, then add the flour and mix well, let that cook for 3 minutes or until flour is incorporated. Now add the white wine and let that cook down, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream, herbs and stock then salt and pepper to taste. Let that cook down for 10 minutes.

Now add the chicken back to the mushroom sauce and let that cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Remove the chicken and then take out the toothpicks, they should come out easy now.

I cooked some onions in a sautee pan then I turn it up to high. I threw in my spinach and turned off the heat. I let the spinach cook for about 3 of four minutes and constantly stirred. Lay down two chicken rolls and then spoon some of the sauce over the top. Serve the spinach on the side and you have a love making meal. Buon Apetito!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with a Red Clam Sauce

Spaghetti Squash is awesome food. It contains many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene and it is very low in calories with only 42 calories per 1-cup serving. It is a great substitute for pasta because it is all natural, gluten free and holds up to heavy sauces well. Spaghetti Squash is also very easy to cook and prepare. I saw some really nice little neck clams (the really small ones) and I haven't had a clam sauce in ages. This takes about 1 hour to cook, feeds two and costs about $15.

Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Use a large kitchen knife to cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and soft center. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray a bit of olive oil and place the squash cut side down. Bake to 45 minutes or until the squash is tender to the touch. Let it cool for at least five minutes. Run a fork from top to bottom and the flesh will come out stringy like pieces of spaghetti, its pretty amazing.

Simple Red Clam Sauce

2 oz olive oil
1/2 organic vidalia onion, diced
5 medium cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red finger hot chili pepper, chopped
1 28oz can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, blended
2 dozen little neck clams
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper

Start a large sauce pot on medium low. Add oil, onions, hot pepper and garlic and let cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Puree the canned tomatoes in a blender or food processor and add to the onions and garlic. Let that cook on low for 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Start a second deep sauté pan on medium high. Add 1/2 a cup of the tomato sauce and the 1/4 cup of water. Then add the clams and cover. Let that cook for 4 minutes, stir a few times. Uncover and toss in the fresh chopped herbs and crushed pepper. Stir, cover and cook for 3 more minutes. Uncover, throw away any unopened clams. Remove clams and let that sauce reduce for a few minutes.

Scoop out the spaghetti squash and top it with some of the tomato sauce. Put the clams around the spaghetti squash and then spoon the remaining sauce from the clams around the plate. This second sauce is key. Serve the dish with some garlic bread to soak up the remaining sauce. The little necks were perfectly cooked and gave a great flavor to the dish. The spaghetti squash tasted great along with the San Marzano tomato sauce. I pay the extra $3 for them because they are quality and you get a lot of great sauce for only a few extra bucks. Defiantly worth it in my opinion. Buon Apetito!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicken Thai Massaman Curry with Scallion-Lime Couscous

Thai Massaman curry is a dish that is a bit more like an Indian curry because of the use of some of the savory spices like nutmeg, clove and cardamom. There are many versions to this dish, so I made it as authentic as I could based on what ingredients I had in the house. This dish whips up quick, about 40 minutes, costs about $20 and feeds 4 people.

Chicken Thai Massaman Curry

- Dry Spice Mix -
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 clove, crushed

- Wet Spice Mix -
1 Jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 Serrano chili, chopped
1 Finger Hot chili, chopped
1 Anaheim chili, chopped
1 bay leaf, crushed
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon grass, chopped

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 lb package of chicken tenderloins, cut into inch pieces
1 large organic sweet potato, diced to 1/2 inch squares
1/2 cup organic carrots, chopped to 1/2 inch squares
1/2 large organic vidallia onion, diced to 1/2 inch squares
4 organic scallions, rough chopped - tops reserved for garnish
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced to 1/2 inch squares
1 small can of bamboo shoots
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or fish sauce, but wifes allergic so soy it is)
1 12 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

(I didn't have these three ingredients but they make awesome additions)
1/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted cashews or peanuts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Mix all dry spices together. In a mortar and pestal (or food processor) blend all wet spice mix ingredients into a paste. Mix half of the dry spice mix with the chopped chicken tenderloins. Chop all of the vegetables and turn a large pot to medium heat. Once the pan is very hot, add the oils and then add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for 3 minutes on each side to get color, but do not cook all the way through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat down to medium low. Add the wet spice mix and stir rapidly, let cook for 1 minute. Now add the vegetables (onion, carrot, scallion, bell pepper and sweet potato) and let that cook for about 7 minutes. Now add the cooked chicken, bamboo shoots and the remaining half of the dry spice mix. Mix that well and then add the soy sauce, coconut milk and coconut water. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves. If you had the pineapple, cashews and/or cilantro, add those at this time as well. Let it stand for about 5 minutes and then serve.

Scallion-Lime Couscous

1 and 1/2 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1/2 cup coconut water
juice from 1 lime
peel from one lime, grated
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain couscous

Start a medium sauce pot on high with the water and coconut water. Once it boils add lime juice, lime peel, salt, scallions and couscous. Mix well and cover with aluminum foil and the pot lid to ensure a tight seal. Remove it from the heat and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. Open and fluff with a fork.

I scooped out the soft couscous and ladled out some of the beautiful coconut curry on the side of it. I then topped it with the sliced scallion tops and a wedge of lime. Although there were a lot of spicy ingredients, the dish was not extremely spicy because the coconut milk tempers the spice a lot. Traditionally this is served with rice but I didn't have any rice so the couscous was a great alternative and lighter side that matched perfectly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Turkey and Smoked Gruyère Panini with Arugula Salad

Who doesn't love a salad and a sandwich for lunch? Here is a quick fix in 15 minutes. The parsley gives the sandwich a bright and fresh taste to compliment the bold cheese.

Turkey and Smoked Gruyère Panini

4 slices of onion multi-grain loaf
1/2 lb of Boarshead Cracked Peppermill turkey
1/8 lb Boarshead Smoked Gruyère Cheese
Handful of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, rough chopped

Mustard Aioli
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1 drop of agave nectar

Dress all four pieces of bread with the aioli. Place turkey, then chopped parsley, then cheese. Spray or brush the top of the bread with olive oil. Put in on the panini press and cook for 5 minutes. Let it rest on a baking rack or it will become soft on the bottom.

Arugula Salad

1 package of fresh washed arugula
1 roma tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of EV olive oil

In a large bowl combine the vinaigrette ingredients except the olive oil. Once well combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Toss the tomatoes in with the vinaigrette and mix well, then add the arugula and toss. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Slice the panini cross wise and stack, toss the salad and you have a quick lunch for a great price. Enjoy

Monday, October 18, 2010

Veal Osso Bucco with Vegetable Quinoa

Veal Osso Bucco is a classic Northern Italian classic with that warm and comforty (made up word) felling that is perfect for the fall season. Often it is served with Risotto Milanese but I had some quinoa and though that it would be a healthy and tasty alternative with similar effects. This recipe serves two people and leaves a bunch of quinoa left over for snaking. I have been adding quinoa to the left over fall soup I made in a previous recipe, its awesome!

Veal Osso Buco - 1.5 hours

2 tablespoons pancetta, finely chopped
2 oz vegetable oil
2 veal shanks
1/2 medium yellow onion, rough chop
3 scallions, chopped - reserve green tops for garnish
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups stock (veg, chicken or beef) I used chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram and oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper

Turn the oven on to 325. Start a large dutch oven (oven proof pot with lid) or enamel coated cast iron cooking vessel (ie. le crusset) on low heat. Add the pancetta and let that melt and render out the fat, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked pancetta and reserve it for later. Salt and pepper the veal shanks and coat with a bit of flour. Add the veg oil to the pancetta fat and turn the heat to medium. Add the veal shanks and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until they get a nice brown on them. Remove them from the pot and set aside. Turn the heat back to low and add the onions, scallions, tomato, garlic and carrots. Let that cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Now turn the heat to medium and add the red wine. Let that cook for about 5 minutes. Now add the chicken stock. Cook this for about 10 more minutes. Now trun off the heat. Add the reserved veal shanks to the pot, the liquid should be about half way up the shanks. Top the shanks with the fresh herbs. Cover the pot and place the whole thing in the oven. This whole technique is called braising.

Let that cook in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove and throw away the herbs. Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside. Puree the vegetables and liquid using a stick blender or traditional blender. Add the shanks to the pot and top them with the blended sauce. Cover and put it back it to the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove and serve. This may sound gross to many but the bone marrow (soft material inside the bone) is the best tasting stuff on earth. Don't knock it till you try it.

Vegetable Quinoa - 25 minutes

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red bell pepper, fine chop
1/2 cup broccoli florets, pared into very small pieces

Quinoa is a very healthy alternative to rices and grains. It is actually a sprouted seed and therefore has lower carbs and higher protein then traditional starch sides like rice or potatoes. EAT IT! The quinoa must be thoroughly rinsed. I do this by placing the quinoa in a large strainer and running cold water over it while tossing it my hand. You could also soak by placing the strainer and large bowl full of cold water and working the quinoa with your hands.

Place the quinoa, water, stock and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Once it boils add the chopped bell pepper and broccoli. Cover tightly and turn the heat to low (1 of 10). Let it cook for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. This dish is super easy and is a completely nutritional stand alone meal. There will be plenty of leftovers.

Just scoop out some quinoa on a plate and place a veal shank beside it. Top it with some extra gravy and some sliced scallion tops. This is really not that difficult to make and is a smash hit with most people. Add a glass of some Italian Barbaresco or Chianti Classico and you have a restaurant quality meal for about $30 including wine. Boun Apetito!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin and Squash Soup

I always go through different phases when cooking. I will find something I like and then make a few different versions. I think it improves my abilities to work with new ingredients and helps me refine my palate. Here is my second version of a winter gourd soup, this time it is certainly not vegan, but could be made that way by following the substitutions listed in the ingredient list. This recipe makes about 12 servings.

Pumpkin-Squash Soup
You want equal parts for all three squash, or thereabout.
1 small pie pumpkin, halved and seeded
1 golden acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/2 of a small Calabaza squash, seeded (they tend to be bigger so I used 1/2)
2 teaspoons of pancetta, fine diced (optional)
2 oz vegetable oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 cup of carrots, chopped
5 scallions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 stick of butter
1 banana, chopped
1 pear, skinned and chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
4 cups of chicken stock (use veg stock for vegan)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Garnish: Toasted bread croûtons, chopped scallions and plain yogurt

Halve and remove the seeds from the squash. Place face down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until they are soft to the touch. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh from the skins and set it aside in a large bowl. Start a large sauce pot on low and add the diced pancetta and let that melt for about ten minutes. Once the fat is rendered out, remove the cooked pieces and reserve them for later. Now add the oil and onions, carrots, scallions, garlic and jalapeño. Let that cook for ten minutes or until the vegetables become soft. Turn the heat to medium and add the butter. Once the butter melts add the banana, pear and apple and let that cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the pear and apple start to soften. Now add the reserved squash, pancetta, seasonings, chicken stock, apple juice and heavy cream. Stir that well and let that come to a boil. Quickly turn the heat to simmer and let it all cook together for about 15 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender and return it to the sauce pot when finished. taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish and serve.

The jalapeño adds a good spice to the soup, so if you don't like spicy go with a 1/4 of a jalapeño or omit it completely. This one was not as sweet as the butternut squash soup I made previously but was still very delicious. Soup making is really not that difficult and you can follow this format with any ingredients to make your own soup to your liking.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicken and Provolone Panini

Fun Fact: Fresh Rick's was originally going to be a gourmet sandwich shop in Hoboken, NJ.

That ended up not working out, but I still make some pretty awesome paninis. Here is my lunch from the other day.

Turkey and Provolone Panini

4 slices of Italian sandwich bread
1/2 lb sliced chicken breast from the deli
4 piece of deli provolone cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon olive oil mayo
1 teaspoon honey mustard
1 splash white balsamic vinegar

Mix the mayo, honey mustard and vinegar to make the sandwich dressing. Dress both side of the bread. On one side place the chicken, then lay out one layer of fresh basil. Now top it with the cheese. Place it on a hot panini grill that has been sprayed with a touch of olive oil. Also spray the top of the bread with some olive oil as well. Close the panini grill and press down lightly. After 3 minutes press down firmly. Remove from the grill and place on a cooling rack or it will get soggy on the bottom. Slice crosswise and serve.

I am still thinking about unleashing this sandwich shop on the general public, but down here in South Beach. All the leg work is done, now I just need $200k...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Seafood Lasagna

This is the second part to our dinner party this past Saturday. I made a variation of this dish about 6 years ago and haven't done it since. It is a time consuming and detailed recipe but when you get it all right there may be no other better lasagna in the world. To add to the awesomeness of this recipe my friend Shawn caught some Florida lobsters while out on the boat earlier that day, and fresh is always best. Another big thanks to my buddy Josue for Sous cheffing this dish with me.

This recipe feeds 8 to 10 people and I made two trays (one small, one big). Total time is about 3 hours. Total cost: priceless (about $80)

Seafood Lasagna
1/4 cup pancetta, diced
2 oz EV olive oil
1/2 cup medium white onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
1 lb of u25 peeled, deveined shrimp, cut into 5 equal piece each
1 lb of sea scallops, cut to into the same size as the shrimp (about 4 per scallop)
8 oz jumbo lump crab meat
8 oz fresh Florida lobster, chopped in 1/2 squares (same size as shrimp)
1 lb fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1.5 cups of whole milk Ricotta cheese
1 pint of heavy cream (2 cups)
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup grated Parmesan chesse, grated
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
10 sheets of fresh semolina pasta dough, a little bigger then the lasagna pan.
Here is my Homemade Pasta Recipe (Thickness level of 3 for lasagna)

Get a large stock pot filled with water and about two tablespoons of salt started on high heat. This will be for the pasta which we will cook right at the end.

Start a large sauce pot on low heat (1 of 10). Add the pancetta to the pan and let it cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. This will render the fat out of the pancetta, you could substitute bacon, but pancetta is WAY better. Once the pancetta is browned remove it from the pan, dice it up and reserve it for later, but leave the fat. Add the olive oil and they onions, carrots, garlic, and bell pepper and let cook for 15 minutes or until it almost melted. Turn it up to medium low (3 of 10) and add the seafood, without the crab (its cooked). Stir often to make sure you cook the seafood through evenly, only about five minutes. Now add the crab meat and the chopped spinach. Mix it up and let that cook for 3 minutes. Add the seasonings, herbs, heavy cream, ricotta, butter and the reserved pancetta mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Now add most of the grated Parmesan and Pecorino and turn back down to simmer(reserve about 1/4 cup of cheese). Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Now add your fresh pasta sheets to the water two at a time and let them cook for about 5 minutes or until al dente, do not overcook them as it will lose an important texture factor and structural component of the lasagna. Remove them from the water and drain. This works well if you have a pasta insert or large strainer to pull the sheets out. Repeat until all the sheets are cooked.

In a large lasagna pan (I used a Pyrex 15"x10"x2" pan and a Pyrex 9"x9" square) add a large spoon full of the liquid from the seafood sauce to coat the bottom of the pans, this prevents the pasta from sticking to the bottom. Now add two pasta sheets making sure to overlap them in the center by about 1/2 and inch. Now trim the excess so the sheets fill the pan perfectly, but leaving no spot uncovered. Now scoop the seafood mixture on top of the pasta, spread it evenly (about 1/3 for the large and 1/6 for the small pan). Sprinkle with some of the grated cheese you had reserved. Top that with two more fresh pasta sheets, make sure to overlap the center and trim the outside to fit the pan. Add the second part of the mixture to each pan and sprinkle on more grated cheese (about 1/3 for the large and 1/6 for the small pan). Reserve about 1/2 a cup of just liquid from the seafood mix for the top. Finally add the top two sheets and spoon the reserved liquid evenly on top, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top. Place it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove and let it stand for at least ten minutes, this will allow it to firm up and not run all over when you serve it. Garnish, slice and serve. I also made some garlic bread to go along with it so that I could soak up all the seafood goodness.

We had a total of 8 people and this dish worked out perfectly. Everyone cleaned their plates and I had a whole small pan leftover for Sunday football. It was great the second day also. Between the soup and lasagna we had a little side salad that consisted of arugula, sliced pear, red onion, toasted pumpkin seeds and a white balsamic vinaigrette. Thanks everyone for eating and cleaning, I had a great time. This may have to become a regularly scheduled event.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup (Vegan)

This was the first course for our dinner party last night. This soup had savory, sweet, rich, spicy and earthy flavors. Omit the Chantilly cream garnish for full on vegan, but it really does help bring it all together. I was at the grocery store and they had this huge display of gourds and squash. I have never worked with golden acorn squash but I figured now was a better time then any other. This recipe feeds 8 and takes 1.5 hours.

Butternut and Golden Acorn Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 medium golden acorn (or regular acorn) squash, halved and seeded
1 ripe banana
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 Bartlet pear, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 a medium white onion, diced
1/2 a orange bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
5 colves of garlic, smashed and chopped
3 oz olive oil
1/2 a jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
4 cups of vegetable stock (or water)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the two gourds lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place them cut side on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until soft. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin and set aside. Start and large pot on low heat (2 of 10), add the olive oil and the onions, garlic, bell pepper, jalepeno and carrots and let them cook for 10 minutes. Now add the apple, pear and banana and let cook for 10 minutes. Add the seasonings and then add the vegetable stock along with the reserved roasted squash. Bring that up to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook 10 minutes. Now puree the soup. I used my kitchen blender and pureed it in 2 batches, don't over crowd the blender. You could also use a food processor or stick blender. Once the soup is smooth add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Marjoram Chantilly

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon fresh marjoram, finely chopped

Whip the cream with a hand blender and fold in marjoram.

I crushed up some roasted pumpkin seeds and put a dollop of cream on top. This was the first time I have made this soup which was a mash up of many different recipes and soups i have seen. However this is defiantly not the last time as it was one of the best soups I have ever eaten and certainly the best and most unique I have ever made. The whole dinner party of 8 cleaned their bowls so I will take that as confirmation of success.